If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.



Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Eww, that’s a tongue

by Craig Bettenhausen
January 21, 2021

A blue field with yellow-greenish bumps.
Credit: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c12925

Have you ever held up a mirror and stared, really stared, at your tongue? Efren Andablo-Reyes and coworkers at the University of Leeds went far beyond that. They worked with the Leeds dental school to collect microscale tongue impressions in multiple materials from volunteers, then digitized 3-D images of the molds (top, with scalebar). With that data, they developed a method to computationally simulate the tongues’ randomly spaced but evenly distributed patterns and structures. Finally, they used a combination of 3-D printing and soft-matter lithography to spit out their simulated tongues in the real world (bottom). Why? Up to now, the team says, researchers who want to study how tongues in isolation interact with the matter they encounter have had to make do with dead tongues or models with grid-like feature patterns that fail to replicate the friction, wettability, and changes with stretching seen on the real thing. They hope that their better tongue mimic will find applications in food science, drug delivery, and oral care research.

A blue field with greenish-yellow bumps.
Credit: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c12925

Credit: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2020, DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c12925

Do science. Take pictures. Win money. Enter our photo contest here.

Click here to see more Chemistry in Pictures.


This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.